Vatican Connections: August 29, 2014

With the pope’s one major summer trip over and done with, attention can now return to what we could call “housekeeping” matters: appointing new bishops to dioceses that have been awaiting appointments, and filling up the papal agenda for this fall.

This week Pope Francis named the new Archbishop of Madrid, Spain. Cardinal Antonio Rouco Varela turned 75 in 2011.  During World Youth Day Madrid 2011 Cardinal Rouco Varela delivered his resignation letter directly to Pope Benedict XVI. The appointment of a successor, like many others, was delayed.

After much speculation by Vatican watchers, the cardinal’s sucessor was finally made public: Archbishop Carlos Osoro Sierra, currently leading the Archdiocese of Valencia, will move to Spain’s capital. That left an opening in Valencia, a vibrant, seaside diocese brimming with vocations. In an unexpected move, the pope moved Cardinal Antonio Cañizarez Llovera from the head of the Congregation for Divine Worship to his home diocese of Valencia.

Cañizarez Llovera’s time in the Roman Curia was undoubtedly coming to an end – he was one of the few curial officials who had not been permanently confirmed in his job by Pope Francis. However, forgetting that this pope has no qualms about breaking unwritten “rules”, most believed Cañizarez Llovera would be named to Madrid.

Quashing any notion that the appointment was some sort of punishment or humiliation, the cardinal told Vatican Insider, a vatican news web site run by the Italian paper La Stampa, “It was my wish. I said to Francis: I want to have the odor of sheep. I asked to go back to a diocese, to whichever diocese he wanted to send me.” The cardinal comes from Utiel, a town in the autonomous region of Valencia and sees the appointment as a welcome homecoming.


On the North American side there is one major appointment expected soon: the replacement for Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, 77.

The cardinal submitted his resignation in 2012 when he turned 75. This year when he revealed that he was once again dealing with cancer, the Vatican informed that a replacement would be surfaced quickly for Chicago.

Cardinal George  was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2006 and suffered a relapse in 2012. Earlier this year he revealed the cancer was once again showing signs of activity and he would under go a more aggressive round of chemotherapy. This week the archdiocese announced the cardinal had cancelled a scheduled trip to Rome in October in order to undergo treatment as part of a clinical trial run by the University of Chicago.





Quote of the Day – Proclaim Christ to all nations

God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth”: that is, of Christ Jesus. Christ must be proclaimed to all nations and individuals, so that this revelation may reach to the ends of the earth:

God graciously arranged that the things he had once revealed for the salvation of all peoples should remain in their entirety, throughout the ages, and be transmitted to all generations.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, page 29.

Photo credit: CNS
The popemobile carrying Pope Benedict XVI makes its way through a throng of young people as the pope arrives to celebrate the World Youth Day closing Mass at Cuatro Vientos airfield in Madrid, Spain.

Madrid: One year later

A year ago Madrid was getting ready to receive the pope. The youth of the world arrived in Madrid to celebrate the faith. But one year after, were there fruits?

I first thought about this when Salt and Light prepared the anniversary of WYD 2002. As a staff member for the Madrilenian WYD I asked myself what fruits the did event give the Church? Keeping in mind is too early to see the real fruits, and knowing WYD is a work of God is so big, we may never be able to measure the real effects it had.

To realize what the results are we need to look at what is the purpose of WYD and the goal is nothing less than show that the church is alive and the model of life offered by the church is in fact something more relevant than ever. Looking at WYD Madrid we realize despite of all of the difficulties many people went through during that week, all participants will say was the experience of a lifetime.

My work at WYD brought me to Salt and Light and from my point of view that is one of the fruits together with many others. In Madrid my job was taking care of the content of the official Portuguese web site. It was an amazing experience to share the stories of hundreds of young people around the world making sacrifices to be there, to celebrate their faith together with other people, to have the Holy Father Benedict XVI there thanking them for choosing the way of Christ.

But the experience that really showed me what the Catholic faith is about was my work with the Portuguese Conference of Bishops.  My function was to organize a general meeting for all Portuguese pilgrims. After five months of work on August 18, 8.000 young boys and girls celebrated Christ in their lives, jumping singing and waving flags.

Why that event was so important for me? My past is connected with youth ministry I arrived in Madrid with nothing less than 14 years of experience as a youth minister. In Madrid I was seeing all my work coming to maybe to its most visible fruition. As a youth minister my concern was always try to get young people walking close to God and to not be afraid of showing what they really believe.  That moment in the Madrid Arena was living proof of it.

So looking at all of this WYD Madrid has already given fruits for both those who went and met God in their lives,  and also those who followed the event from afar and were captivated by these young Catholics standing firm in their faith

2011 Year in Review – Perspectives Weekly

Tonight on Perspectives: The Weekly Edition, Pedro reviews the big moments of 2011. Who better to talk to than three of Salt + Light’s producers who have been there covering those events. Kris Dmytrenko, Alicia Ambrosio and Cheridan Eygelaar give Pedro their perspective about the key moments for the Church in 2011.

Timeline of an unforgettable week

Were you in Madrid this summer for World Youth Day? Were you, like so many others, in the middle of an immense sea of people unable to get the view you wanted? WYD Madrid just uploaded this video to their still-active YouTube page, a one hour look back at whole week of WYD. Titled “Cronica de una semana inolvidable” or “timeline of an unforgettable week”, the video includes footage from TeleMadrid and 13TV, the official broadcasters of World Youth Day Madrid. If you understand Spanish you’ll enjoy the excerpts from Pope Benedict XVI’s homilies.

A long journey in a house called Church

The following post was submitted by Carlos Ferreira, a new addition to the S+L team.

Coming from Europe to join to the Salt + Light team, more specifically from Portugal, is an experience of faith. After a big event like WYD Madrid – where I worked for the organizing committee’s communications department – I came here to help spread God’s Word to the whole world. Change always offers something to learn and, for me, I could learn a new form of celebrating the mass and understanding the universality of the Church.

In my homeland we have a completely different reality of Church and people are used to living their faith with a very different sense of community. There, when someone misses mass, everyone will try to find out why. I could see that here, living the faith is a more individual experience, but the faith is still strong and centered on Christ.

Two Sundays ago when I went to St. Basil’s Parish in Toronto, I was prepared to see a new form of living the mass and, in fact, I found it. At the same time I felt like everyone in that church was in the same boat as me. For me, it was my first mass in an English speaking parish, and for everyone else it was their first mass with the new translation of the missal. I thought it was God’s way of making me feel welcome on this new continent where I’ve come to work for Him.

My new experience of the universality of the Church didn’t end here. That evening, myself and some other members of Salt + Light staff attended the annual gala dinner put on by Fountain of Love and Life (the Chinese programming department of S+L). There I could really witness how big God’s work is.
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WANTED: Joyful, energetic WYD pilgrims

After the WYD “high,” how do you continue to nourish the seeds of faith that were planted? That’s the question Pedro asks this week on Perspectives: The Weekly Edition. Joining him for the discussion is Neiman D’Souza, a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Toronto, and Jonathan Nix, coordinator of Youth Ministry at St. Bonaventure parish in Toronto. A lot of spiritual preparation happens before World Youth Day, but what happens once we get home and settle back into our old routines? What are the challenges? What are the opportunities? But, most importantly how do we stay rooted in Christ?


Harvesting the fruit of WYD

About a month has passed since World Youth Day ended and I’ve had the chance to talk to pilgrims from various places. The one thing that inevitably comes up is the Cuatro Vientos vigil. The two most asked questions: (1) Did you make it in? and (2) Did you get drenched? So when I received word that among the pilgrims on the field that night was the Bishop of Sale, Australia, Most Rev. Christopher Prowse, I asked him those questions, and more. Here is what Bishop Prowse had to share:

Question: Why did you want to stay at Cuatro Vientos, knowing that it’s going to be a long, uncomfortable night?

Bishop Prowse: Thanks be to God, I am still fit and young enough to be able to endure the uncomfortable aspects of spending the night at World Youth Day vigil venues. I was determined to stay with my diocesan pilgrimage group as much as I could. The vigil with His Holiness and the overnight stay at Cuatro Vientos are an important part of that. For some of the pilgrims it is one of the highlights. I wanted to share that with them.

Q: The electrical storm was a total surprise to everyone, especially the locals. What did you think when you saw the storm clouds approaching and how did your group fare?
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Returning to the fold: Alicia Ambrosio

All of us at Salt + Light had a great start to our work week. An important sheep has returned to the family fold!

Alicia Ambrosio has returned to S+L’s headquarters in Toronto. For the last year and a half, Ambrosio served as S+L’s first Vatican correspondent in Rome.

In total, she spent seven months in Rome covering the Vatican and eight months in Madrid, Spain. She was tasked with filing stories about the church in Europe and Spain in the run up to World Youth Day.

When she looks back at her time spent overseas, she values what she learned from the incredibly knowledgeable experts that she met.

“The Vatican is its own world in every sense,” she said.

“Any thing that happens outside the Vatican has some sort of effect or echo in the Vatican. There is always someone in Rome, inside or outside the Curia, who is an expert on something — whatever it is — and willing to talk about it. There’s always a story to follow and someone fascinating to talk to.”
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Another door opens!

I returned home from World Youth Day in Madrid, Spain almost two weeks ago – honestly, one of the most incredible trips of my life. There are no words to express how I feel. I still find myself wrapped with plenty of emotion and with a ton of WYD withdrawal. That’s to be expected with any sort of trip, but most especially, when one is on pilgrimage. There were so many people, churches, activities and journeys that I won’t soon forget. Then there’s the time-adjusting to worry about!
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